Thinking Log

You will be expected to keep a log book and make journal entries in such a way that you generate your own "progress reports." Writing activities are used to facilitate reflections and discussions, to make logs of what you learned, any problems, and plan what you are going to do next. Some log entries are "directed entries." These are entries that specifically ask you about your work. Other entries are "non-directed." These are when you feel the need to write. In other words, you need to write because of something you have seen or heard; a discussion you have had with the class, friends, parents, or us.

Some of the greatest thinkers of all time have kept diaries, letters, journals--forms of their thinking logs--that allow us to see their thoughts and ideas in process. These primary resources are crucial in helping us to literally watch a great mind unfold or a great idea develop. Leonardo da Vinci and Alexander Graham Bell are just two figures who kept logs.

"It was Leonardo's custom to fill the pages of his notebooks with drawings and ideas as they occurred to him. Thus notes on painting or rent owed can be found next to drawings of war machines or plants or geometrical figures. Again and again we see him thinking on paper, testing out various ideas as they occurred to him. As an artist, he was capable of illustrating in pencil far more clearly than with words, his ideas, designs, principles, and applications. This artistic ability, allied to a modern concern with details of machinery, makes his work highly reminiscent of twentieth-century technical drawing. Indeed, not until Diderof's Encylopedie in the eighteeth century did a technical drawing become as clear and instructive."

--From the introduction of The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci by Charles Gibbs-Smith, Oxford: Phaidon, 1978.

Take a look at sample pages from the notebooks of Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo da Vinci [1], [2], [3], or Thomas Alva Edison.

A scoring rubric will be used to assess your Thinking Logs.

Created by: Shelly Peretz from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois
Multimedia Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab. Funded by the Midwest Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education based at the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Last Updated: July 22, 1996